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Huazhu Group (NASDAQ:HTHT) Will Be Hoping To Turn Its Returns On Capital Around

If you're not sure where to start when looking for the next multi-bagger, there are a few key trends you should keep an eye out for. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Huazhu Group (NASDAQ:HTHT) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. To calculate this metric for Huazhu Group, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.0025 = CN¥139m ÷ (CN¥65b - CN¥10b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Thus, Huazhu Group has an ROCE of 0.3%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Hospitality industry average of 8.8%.

See our latest analysis for Huazhu Group

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Huazhu Group compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

So How Is Huazhu Group's ROCE Trending?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Huazhu Group, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 0.3% from 12% five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

On a related note, Huazhu Group has decreased its current liabilities to 15% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Huazhu Group's ROCE

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Huazhu Group is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 331% to shareholders in the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

One final note, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Huazhu Group (including 1 which can't be ignored) .

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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